The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has said that the Nigeria Immigration Service was working to ensure that all outstanding passports were issued by May 31 after several months of delay.
Mr. Aregbesola also stated that beginning June 1, passports would be issued within six weeks, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for the delay.
He, however, said the government had launched the electronic temporary passport to ease the burden on Nigerians.
Speaking during a virtual inaugural quarterly lecture series of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission tagged, ‘Mobilising Nigerians in the Diaspora for National Development.’ on Saturday, the interior Minister said “The Nigeria Immigration Service also had their fair share of the pandemic which affected passport issuance.
“We have launched an electronic temporary passport to ease the burden of Nigerians.
“By May 31, all outstanding passport applications will be cleared. We are also looking at domesticating passport printing to avoid a shortage of booklets for renewal and new passport collection.
“Also, from June 1, the collection of passports will take six weeks and this will allow us to carry out due diligence.”
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, assured Nigerians abroad that diaspora voting may be realised soon.
The minister disclosed that the Independent National Electoral Commission and the National Assembly were currently working to make this materialise.
He said, “NIDCOM is working closely with the relevant committees of the National Assembly and relevant stakeholders, particularly INEC, to allow those in the diaspora to vote in Nigeria, and I remain very optimistic that in no distant future, we should be able to allow the participation of Nigerians in the diaspora in our national elections as obtained in other climes.
“INEC and the National Assembly are working to fashion out ways to actualise diaspora voting in Nigeria.”
Stating the efforts of the Federal Government towards mobilising Nigerians in the diaspora for national development, Mr. Dada said the government had created an enabling environment for diaspora investment through the annual diaspora investment summit.
He added that efforts were ongoing to establish an investment fund.